Were whoopie pies an integral part of your childhood? These classic chocolate cake sandwiches layered with a marshmallow filling are a sweet indulgence especially loved in the Northeast. According to Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell, authors of the new Whoopie Pies, these enticing confections have been popular from Maine to Pennsylvania for decades. The authors, life-long fans of this truly American confection, have assembled a delectable collection of recipes that go far beyond the original version.
Their book is divided into two sections –“cakes” and “creamy fillings.” Examples of their enticing combos include luscious vanilla with rich dark chocolate butter cream filling; banana with salty peanut butter filling; and oatmeal with maple filling.
On a recent chilly afternoon I invited two Amherst College students to make whoopie pies with me. We baked rich chocolate cakes and filled some with marshmallow, and others with chocolate butter cream. After we had devoured more than a sample, I made gift packs for each student to take back to her dorm. They reported that the little cakes had disappeared within minutes upon their arrival!
You can see how easy whoopie pies are to assemble in the attached short video, and then try your hand at baking them from the following recipe.
Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell
Chronicle Books 2012
Classic Chocolate Whoopie
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (I used extra large baking sheets.)
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening, and brown sugar on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and milk and beat until completely combined.
Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon (I used heaping tablespoons to get 48 cakes) of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the pies spring back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
Makes about 48 two-inch cakes.
1 1/2 cups Marshmallow Fluff (or other prepared marshmallow cream, which will do in a pinch)
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the Marshmallow Fluff and the vegetable shortening, starting on low and increasing to medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, add the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more.
Spread filling onto the flat side of one cake using a knife or spoon.
Top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling. (Alternatively, you can use a pastry bag with a round tip to pipe the filling onto the cakes, which will give you a smoother, neater presentation.